Thank you. It’s important I start with that because while I know many of you will read this article from start to finish, I also know that there are some who will stop after the first paragraph or part way through. Either way, I want you to know how grateful I am.
Your emails, phone calls, tweets, the anonymous questions you ask in the Reader Q & A, and the success stories that you share with me throughout the year after using a strategy I recommend are what fuel me…pushing me to do even more for you, and some days causing me to get a little emotional (eyes watering) like in Boston this past week at the NACAC National Conference.
On Saturday morning, a reader of this newsletter who I had never met before stopped by my booth with a colleague of his to say thank you. With a big smile on his face, he thanked me for the knowledge and strategies that I share each Tuesday, and he also touched on the discussions that have resulted in his office after sharing articles of mine.
There were a lot of amazing moments in Boston for me, but that conversation was the most memorable.
As you interact with prospective students and parents in the coming days, weeks, and months, always be mindful that your college is just one of many reaching out to them through the many different available channels.
For you to successfully engage with these families, you need to understand how to influence them on a personal level. That means taking the time to really get to know who they are – their wants, needs, motivations, and their fears. If you don’t take this approach you go from being someone who they’re excited to learn more from, to just another college representative delivering a sales pitch…no matter how much they like your college on the surface.
Much like I never forget those of you who connect with me and thank me for helping you, your prospects and their parents will never forget you when you truly make this process about them. Caring, being thoughtful, and just being plain relatable never go unnoticed, even if they don’t verbalize that to you…because less and less people are like that.
Once they “know you” and it’s clear you’re consistently trying to help guide them through what is a confusing and complicated college search process, they’ll listen and they’ll engage as you tell your school’s story and explain why your college is a good fit for them.
But it has to be about them. The students have to be at the center of everything you’re doing.
The people who understand that and communicate with prospective students and parents the way they want to be communicated with will win, and in some cases, win big.
Before I sign off until next Tuesday, I have one quick request. Will you please forward this article to one person (or more) in higher education you think would benefit from reading it? It could be an admissions colleague, a peer at another institution, or a friend.
Thanks again, and as always you can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org